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Man charged with trying to burn neighbor's trailer

August 09, 1999|By BRYN MICKLE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A man was charged with first-degree arson after an attempt to burn down his neighbor's trailer home with rubbing alcohol early Sunday, according to court records.

George W. Sims II, 25, of Martinsburg, was arraigned in Berkeley County Magistrate Court late Sunday on a felony arson charge and was being held Monday on $25,000 bond in Eastern Regional Jail, according to court records.

The Berkeley County Sheriff's Department was called to Margaret's Way Mobile Estates in Martinsburg around 3 p.m. Sunday to investigate a report that someone had tried to set a trailer on fire, according to records.

No one was inside the trailer at the time and police said the fire appeared to burn itself out.

The entire length of underskirting on the back side of the trailer had been burned and police found an empty bottle of isopropyl rubbing alcohol in the grass beside the trailer, police said.

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A second empty bottle of rubbing alcohol was found inside the trailer near a broken window, according to court records.

No signs of fire were found inside the trailer and police said it appeared a wash rag had been stuffed in the end of the second bottle, according to court records.

Neighbors told police they heard a loud noise and barking dogs after they saw a man return home around 2:30 a.m. Sunday, according to court records.

After tracing price tags on the bottles of rubbing alcohol to a Berkeley Station Road convenience store, the sheriff's department was told by West Virginia State Police a man had come into the barracks and confessed to setting his neighbor's home on fire, according to court records.

The man told police he had been drinking and doing drugs and had set fire to the trailer after he got mad at his neighbor, according to a signed statement in the court records.

The fire caused several thousand dollars of damage to the trailer, police said.

Conviction on a felony first-degree arson charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

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